GUWAHATI: In a significant development, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma revealed that more than 800 individuals have been apprehended in a recent crackdown on child marriage in the state. This operation, the second of its kind this year, commenced in the early hours of Tuesday morning, resulting in the arrest of hundreds of suspects. Chief Minister Sarma indicated that this number could potentially rise as the operation continues.
“In a massive crackdown against child marriage, Assam Police has arrested over 800 accused persons in a special operation which began in the early hours of dawn,” he announced on X, formerly Twitter.
The crackdown against child marriage is part of the Assam government's ongoing efforts to combat this deeply rooted social issue. Earlier this year, in February, the state government launched an unprecedented punitive campaign against child marriage. During that month-long operation, a staggering 3,141 people were arrested. These arrests included not only men who had married underage girls but also family members and religious leaders who were allegedly involved in facilitating such marriages.
This latest round of arrests is specifically aimed at individuals who participated in child marriages after the previous crackdown earlier this year. It reflects the government's determination to eradicate this harmful practice from the state.
Furthermore, the authorities have taken action against those who misuse their positions to solemnize child marriages. In a separate operation last month, 17 individuals posing as "qazis," responsible for solemnizing Muslim marriages, were detained in various operations in the Hailakandi district of Assam.
A district-wise breakdown of the recent arrests reveals that the top five districts with the highest number of arrests are Nagaon (224), Hojai (219), Dhubri (217), Baksa (179), and Barpeta (174). In Baksa, a district located in Lower Assam with a diverse population, Hindus and others constitute 62.64 percent of those arrested, highlighting the widespread nature of the issue. The other four districts in the top five are predominantly Muslim-dominated areas, indicating that child marriage is a concern across various communities.
Assam government's second major crackdown against child marriage is a significant step toward combating this deeply entrenched social problem. With a strong commitment to enforcement, the authorities are sending a clear message that child marriage will not be tolerated, and those involved will face legal consequences.